One of the most dramatic social transitions in the post-reform China has been the internal migration (mainly rural to urban) which is by far the most important component of urbanization process in contemporary China. How to accommodate the increasing urban inhabitants is a challenging issue to the Chinese government. From the perspective of the Chinese Hukou system, this paper examines three social groups (local urban residents, permanent migrants and temporary migrants) and their housing choices as well as housing conditions in China’s urban areas. The results of housing policies analysis suggest that the rural-urban temporary migrants without urban household registration have the most limited housing choices to habitat in cities. Moreover, among these limited housing choices, almost none is suitable for most of them due to their poor economic conditions and the bureaucratic identity registration barriers. The double stresses (economic and spirit press) force these temporary migrants to choose to live in the informal rental housing, Chengzhongcun (Villages in Urban areas). In view of Chinese economic development and urban Hukou reform, it is unfair for Chinese government to exploit the rural-urban temporary migrants as the almost infinite supply of cheap labor but ignoring their elementary housing rights. China’s urban government should recognize the housing demand from large amount of the floating population in urban areas and make use of the functions of Chengzhongcun to solve the migrants housing problem at relatively low social cost.
Copyright Common Ground and The Author/s. Article originally published in International journal of interdisciplinary social sciences, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp. 173-188. This version archived on behalf of the author/s and is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission must be sought from the publisher to republish or reproduce or for any other purpose.